Bernie Sanders

Instapundit: Go To College or Go To…Jail or Iraq?

Bernie Sanders and John Kerry have a weird view of the value of a college edumication.


A thousand years ago, Bob Dylan sang, in "Subterranean Homesick Blues":

Twenty years of schoolin'
And they put you on the day shift.

Bernie Sanders and John Kerry are singing a different tune these days, one about how lack of a college degree (roughly, 16 years of schoolin') and they put you either in a foxhole in Iraq or in the slammer. Writes Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds in USA Today:

The other day, Sanders tweeted: "At the end of the day, providing a path to go to college is a helluva lot cheaper than putting people on a path to jail."

Sanders' comments carried the same elitist tinge that marked John Kerry's unfortunate remarks in 2006: "You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

Kerry's comment created a firestorm of criticism — and, if I recall correctly, some pretty amusing commentary from troops actually in Iraq — since it both overstated the value of education and cast unfair aspersions on soldiers serving in Iraq.

This is stupid, for many reasons, including these two:

Sanders' remarks created a similar backlash. They're wrong on two levels: First, going to college doesn't necessarily keep you out of jail; there are plenty of criminals with college degrees. Second, not going to college hardly puts you "on a path to jail."

Read Reynolds' whole column here.

Last week, I blogged the brilliant response to Sanders from Mike Rowe, the host of CNN's Somebody's Gotta Do It, who said in part:

I wonder sometimes, if the best way to question the increasingly dangerous idea that a college education is the best path for the most people, is to stop fighting the sentiment directly, and simply shine a light on the knuckleheads who continue to perpetuate this nonsense. This latest tweet from Bernie Sanders is a prime example. In less than 140 characters, he's managed to imply that a path to prison is the most likely alternative to a path to college. Pardon my acronym, but…WTF!?…

It's a cautionary tale as predictable as it is false. But now, as people are slowly starting to understand the obscenity of 1.3 trillion dollars in student loans, along with the abundance of opportunity for those with the proper training, it seems the proponents of "college for all" need something even more frightening than the prospect of a career in the trades to frighten the next class into signing on the dotted line. According to Senator Sanders, that "something," is a path to jail.

Read more here.

And watch Reason's interview with Rowe, who loves college actually, about why trade jobs are going unfilled despite huge employer demand:

NEXT: Lindsey Graham Drops Out of Presidential Campaign: 'I've Hit a Wall Here'

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  1. “You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

    That’s…not really how being smart works…

      1. If you have to ask…

        1. No I’m well aware that I’m dumb. But you can’t blame a guy lying in the gutters of ignorance for being a little curious as to how exactly the lofty heights of intelligence are barred to him.

          1. Did you graduate from the Columbia school of journalism? No? Well, there’s your answer.

          2. As the great philosopher Clint Eastwood said “A man has to know his limitations.”

      2. Well, Hugh, it’s kind of like being pregnant. You either are or you’re not.

        And if you are, you’re probably better off having that…taken care of.

        1. So what do I have to pee on to find out if I’m smart?

          1. Don’t encourage him, Nicole. He’ll start to think that he’s people.

          2. It’s more like getting hit by a bus.

          3. So what do I have to pee on to find out if I’m smart?

            Third rail. That’s the basic IQ test.

        2. Fuck you, nicole. With the Khan Academy, I can learn anything!

          1. KHANNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!

          2. Khan Academy (and other sites like Lynda are the future because you can learn anything you want. You don’t have to be lucky enough to live close to a college with a great prof. You can simply watch lectures from the best in a field from anywhere.

            If Bernie and the other clowns were serious about educating people, they would be pushing online education. Instead they are doubling down on the current business model because the educators know that like every other industry that the internet has transformed, they are in trouble if they can’t add any real value.

            1. Unless something drastic happens to our admissions rate next year, in 2017, I shall be working for the largest online university in the world. As such, I’m involved enough in online education to know that its not a panacea; however, you are correct that the disruptive nature of internet technology does bring benefits to the industry. Ironically, the biggest pushers of online competency-based education is currently the Center for American Progress.

              Clocks and being right twice a day.

              1. At least the student activists aren’t marching your ass out into the countryside for some rice harvesting and re-education.

      3. Like a fucking magnet?!


    1. No, I suppose it’s not. Most people need to make the effort to be good at something, though.

      1. Fuck that shit.

  2. I am really surprised that Hogwarts allows its staff to moonlight as US Senators.

    1. Are you implying that Bernie has magic parts we can rub for good luck?

        1. A Wizard’s Staff has a Knob on the End

          1. That’s a great song.

  3. The world needs ditchdiggers, too.


    Are Sanders and Kerry suggesting that those truant from higher education should be sent to jail or conscripted into military service? Because the little voice in my head who thinks we all should be moved around the grand chessboard by our betters likes that idea.

    1. Yes, but they must be college educated ditch diggers and get paid $40/hour.

  4. John Kerry did inspire some in the 34th infantry Division…

  5. I guess the military folks and plumbers and warehousemen and retail clerks all earn income that can be taxed to send Bernie’s friends off to get their free Masters in Puppetry, but what sort of taxes do those in jail pay? Where does “free shit” stop? In Philly, the new mayor’s friends believe the public has to pay for schooling from age 2 on.
    Heck, it won’t be long before edumacation will be free from six months through a PhD program.

  6. “Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.”

    Just from my own meager observations, there seems to a high correlation between fancy learnin’ and believing that magic, sparkling gubmint dust will fix everything.

    1. Ahem.

      1. Mucus products, aisle 4.

        1. Try being a smartass to Warty and see what that gets you. (hint: dismemberment before violent ass-rape)

          1. I thought he’d switched to dismembering people after raping them. So they’re still conscious.

            1. I thought he dismembered them so he could rape them with their own body parts.

              1. You are all correct.

          2. Kink-y. /Hedley

    2. The way I think of it is that there’s a difference between learning and being taught. Lost of those people gettin’ fancy edumucations aren’t really learning in the sense of thinking critically about what the teacher says in order to fully understand it (and reject it if the bullshit detector goes off). They’re merely memorizing and regurgitating information like a trained animal. Take Tony for example. He can regurgitate information with the best of them, but has absolutely no ability to think critically or understand the words he is regurgitating..

      1. It’s more than regurgitation; it’s absolute unwavering faith in the system. They posses a certitude, that all that’s needed is another rule or a regulation to bring the nation’s chakra into alignment.

        It was easy to dismiss rubes and rednecks as dipshits when they would long for “a law, that oughta.” Now they seem like the wise sages.

      2. Right David Friedman makes this point:

        There is at least one more thing wrong with the conventional model. Judging sources of information on internal evidence is a very important intellectual skill. In the classroom, that skill is anti-taught. The pupil is told things by two authorities?the teacher and the textbook?and his job is to believe what they say. Here again, a sufficiently good teacher may be able to overcome the logic of the setting and teach some degree of critical thinking?but here again, sufficiently good teachers are rare.

        One of the great advantages of the Internet, considered as an educational tool, is that it is so obviously an unfiltered medium, leaving it up to each reader to figure out for himself how much to trust his sources of information. It isn’t perfect, but at least it is teaching the right lesson instead of the wrong one.


  7. Asshole elitists gotta elite.

    or sumpthin

  8. As someone who is paying a plumber to do some basic home repairs, I wouldn’t mind if any of my kids went into the trades. The plumber is making pretty close to what I do as a high falutin’ computer consultant.

    I’m happy to pay him though to have the job done right. I’m mechanically declined so any time I try to do a home repair it always ends up with me having to call in the pros to not only finish the job I started, but also to unfuck all the things I fucked up when I tried it on my own.

    1. “I’ve never met a poor plumber.”

      -My stepfather

    2. 15 or 20 years ago, someone wrote an article with his best advice to young people. Get a basic business degree. Learn and work a trade during the summers. Graduate. Work in the trade; save money; start your own business or buy out your boss.

      Still makes a ton of sense.

      1. A very good friend of mine was dating (and is now married to) a girl who’s father built houses. Each summer he worked on the crew and became a good contractor. He ended up with a Masters degree in soil engineering but never worked in the field. He liked working on the construction crew too much.

        Years and years later he is a sought after contractor because he does a good job, is reliable and delivers what he says he will.

        Yeah, having your own business in the trades is definitely a path to success if you are willing to work hard.

    3. I sometimes think I should have been an electrician. Much better than plumber. You don’t have to deal with shit and you don’t get all brain damaged from all the plastic pipe cement. Every plumber I know over a certain age seems a little dopey.

  9. Maybe Bernie has a point.

    A high-school graduate deals a bit of meth and gets sentenced to years in prison.

    Meanwhile, Bill Ayers, a college graduate, plots terrorist bombings and is sentenced to a cushy academic post.

  10. As someone who works a trade these people always anger me. I went to school for a bit, I went too early to focus (17) I then worked a dead end job at a ski resort, I had the best time even though I was broke. Now, ive paid off all my debtime while learning my current trade. Five years into it, I make decent money. I don’t owe anything. My roommate is a computer programmer. I have more at the end of the month than he does with his 125k in debt. He’ll probably do much better in 8 years but I think I made a good decision. These people suck. Anyone who thinks a degree (any at all) makes you more intelligent or something can go in a woodchipper.

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